Catching up

I have officially failed miserably at Holidailies this year, though I do have some time to catch up.  I just got back from IL yesterday, and it was a wonderful holiday break.  I didn’t get to see any snow though, which is disappointing.  Quite a bit of ice, however.  Much less fun. 

Back at work this week.  No one’s around, which is alternately awesome and awful.  It’s awesome because it’s quiet and non-stressful and I can do things like catch up on Holidailies.  It’s awful because it gets really boring really really fast.  There is only so much internet you can read during the day.  Well, that you can/should read at work, anyway!  Umm, not that I would read those things.  Or blog at work.  Obviously.

The break was great though.  I think I ate my weight in cheese one day.  It’s my idea of heaven.  Of course, now that I’m back, it’s back to the gym.  I signed up to run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler again this year.  I’m a super slow runner and haven’t been running very much the past few months, so I need to get back into it.  January 1.  I’m going running.  My luck it will be rainy and cold, because that is what D.C. weather does.  But I despise the treadmill, and even though I’ll end up having to use it, I’m not looking forward to it.

I’m also not looking forward to the gym getting crowded after everyone starts their New Year’s Resolutions.  I like my non-crowded gym!  I’m very spoiled about things like that.

Well, perhaps I should check out the Holidailies prompts and see if there’s anything I want to write about.  Hope you all had a great holiday!

You can’t be serious

Holidailies Prompt: “Do you have a hilarious holiday story? If not, make one up.”

So, since I suggested this prompt, you would think that I had a great story to tell.  Well, I do!

One year, we were planning a family Christmas, just our little group.  But family members just kept showing up!  That didn’t keep us from our holiday decorating, of course.  We got this huge tree that actually broke windows because it was so big and we covered the house in an amazing amount of lights.  Things were going well until we burned the turkey, fried the cat, and burned down the tree!  Can you believe it?  So we cut down a tree in the yard and brought it in, but of course, that meant that a few critters came in as well… wait, that’s not right.

Okay, here’s a better story.  One year, we were going on vacation for Christmas.  The packing was crazy!  I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had to take.  And you will never believe what happened!  My parents FORGOT ME!  That’s right, they didn’t even bring me to the airport… No?

We had a great snow one year and I went out with some friends to build a snowman.  We couldn’t figure out what to call him, and then he came to life and hung out with us!

Yeah, clearly, no funny holiday stories here.  Maybe I’ll work on that for this year.  Play a few pranks, give a few ridiculous gifts.

Really really bad gifts

Holidailies Prompt: “Holiday faux pas.”

I think I can honestly say that I’ve never committed a major holiday faux pas.  Mostly because the opportunity has never presented itself.

Instead, I will share a story from a friend.  She was young and newly married, and her mother-in-law came to visit for Christmas, bringing all sorts of gifts for her son and new daughter-in-law.

Unfortunately, the mother-in-law’s idea of “nice gifts” was very different from that of my friend.  My friend opened one very intricately wrapped box and pulled out some very risqué lingerie.  It was not really my friend’s style, nor was she convinced it was her size, but the bigger issue was that it was from her mother-in-law.  Who she didn’t know well at all. 

So my friend graciously thanked her mother-in-law and tried to avoid her husband’s horrified looks.  As her mother-in-law began to speak, my friend got a sinking feeling in her stomach.  Her mother-in-law was mentioning how much her sister, her deceased sister, had loved the lingerie.  At first, my friend hoped that perhaps this gift was a newly purchased copy of the deceased sister’s lingerie.

Nope.  Her mother-in-law had given her used lingerie that belonged to a dead woman.

I don’t know about you, but that seems like a holiday faux pas to me.

Peace in my world

Holidailies Prompt: “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

For those of you who like random facts, the prompt for today is also the title of the first solo I ever sang for vocal contest. I was awesome, of course.

Once you hit a certain age, it’s just expected that one of the things on your Christmas list is World Peace. It’s kind of a joke at this point. Possibly because no one thinks it will ever happen. How do you define World Peace anyway? Does that just mean no more wars and fighting and religious tension? Does that mean that everyone is best friends and there are never arguments, and neighbors don’t let their dogs bark late at night and kids don’t get into fights on the playground? Does it mean there are never disagreements at all? Are 75% of the lawyers in the world suddenly out of a job? Are all the lawyers out of a job? Do you still need a lawyer to write you a will if no one will argue over your possessions after you die?

Does this include animals? Are there suddenly no fights between housepets? And what about animals that kill other animals for food? Do they ask them very nicely to please lay down and die so that they can eat? Do all creatures go vegetarian? I don’t know how my cats would feel about soy.

Are people all suddenly vegetarian too? Or do we all simply eat meat from animals that have been treated well? How does that work?

World Peace sounds complicated. I would like an end to war and violence and suffering, of course. I think most people would agree.

Right now, I think I would just like some peace in my life. I feel like there are conflicts in all areas of my life right now and it would just be nice to have some peace and quiet. It’s nothing extreme, but there’s just a lot of bitterness around me. Work is a circus, as always, but it seems like the low morale has actually caused those of us who are low on the totem pole to really band together. We’re working better as a team than we have in months. We’re nice to each other – but there’s just a lot of conflict between us and upper management. My friends are all in-fighting, though half of them don’t realize it, and there have been a lot of inconsiderate and hurtful comments thrown about lately, which isn’t exactly enjoyable. I can’t say that I’m upset with anyone, but I’m definitely a sympathizer. My family’s doing okay, though as with every family, there are always lingering disagreements, and having to spend a lot of time together at the holidays, especially when there’s alcohol involved, leads to people getting more and more frustrated with each other. Again, no one ever blows up, but it leads to talking behind each other’s backs and quietly seething at the dinner table.

It seems like something so little to complain about. Yes, everyone’s fighting, but I have a job, I have friends, and I have family. And even with the fighting, I wouldn’t trade them (well, I would trade my job, but not all of my co-workers). So I’m lucky. I would just like a little bit more peace.

How am I so awesome?

Holidailies Prompt: Write the annual holiday card/brag letter for your family.

2008.  Banner year for the household, let me tell you.

In January, I celebrated a birthday.  Survived another year.  I think that’s something to be proud of.  On a whim, I also decided to audition for the Cathedral Choral Society, not having any idea what I was getting myself into.  Now I sing in some pretty big concerts a few times a year.  It’s a great organization to be a part of, and I sort of stumbled into it.

Fabulous things happened in February.  I’m just not sure what they were.

In March, my job sent me to work for another agency for six months, while still paying me my normal paycheck.  I do not understand how the government works, but I do not care, because this was the beginning of an amazing thing.  I want to work at that agency forever.

April was a crazy month.  I started it by running a 10 mile race.  Running.  TEN WHOLE MILES.  All right, for you marathoners out there, that doesn’t sound like much but trust me, it was a feat of epic proportions.  Then I finished off April by refusing to run again for a few weeks.  Possibly not the best plan, but I’ve been guilted into running the race again this coming year.  Better hit the pavement.  Tomorrow.

May meant a trip to Disney World.  I would like to move there.  Well, maybe not move there.  But clearly, I should go more often. 

In June, I pulled off a hugely successful surprise.  I plotted to fly home to surprise my Dad for Father’s Day and he had no clue.  I am a surprise planning genius.  As you all already know.

Later that month, I got an e-mail from my choir asking if anyone wanted to sing for the Fourth of July.  I had no idea what they were asking, but hey, I didn’t have any big plans, so I decided to sing.  That ended up being for the Capitol Fourth celebration held on the National Mall and aired on PBS every year.  That was crazy.  I never expected to be that close to people like Taylor Hicks and Jimmy Smits (who really needs to ditch the mustache) and Hayley Westenra.  I’m practically famous, now that I’ve been on tv.

Some family came to visit in July.  Hottest weekend of the year.  I managed to show them around D.C. and no one died or got lost.  I consider that a successful trip.

Late in the summer, Pippin and Cadu survived a vet visit.  More than one, in fact.  Pippin, being a manly man, has packed on a few pounds and is now on prissy diet food.  He does not like that.  And Cadu very bravely suffered through having a tooth pulled.  He was so brave he didn’t even need any pain medication afterwards.  He’s awesome like that.  Pain will not stop him.  So watch out.  He will cut you.

I returned to my normal job in September, and clearly, I had been missed.  I got a shiny new desk in a prime location.  And immediately got piled with work.  That’s how truly important I am here.

October meant a road trip to Notre Dame for a football game.  Best weekend of the year.  I ran into a bunch of people (many of you reading this in fact – all… 2 of you) who I never get to see anymore, and things were good.  Of course, everyone was super happy to see me because I am awesome.  As you all already know.  Also, driving a total of 20 hours to be somewhere for 36 hours is pretty intense.  In case you were considering it.

The rest of the year has flown pretty quickly.  Went to another football game in November and got to spend some time with my parents, which was nice.  I like when people come to visit so that I can show them around the city (though don’t think about coming to visit during Inauguration – there will be a gajillion people here).

December has been a whirlwind of Christmas planning and cats climbing trees.  I sang three concerts this past weekend at the National Cathedral.  Still waiting to read the reviews on that, but I’m sure they will be amazing. Because I am that good.

So 2008 has been a great year.  I hope 2009 is even better.